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Navy, Marine Corps order review of insider threats in response to Pearl Harbor, NAS Penscola shootings
The Navy and Marine Corps are conducting a broad review of security measures in the face of insider threats, following three violent incidents at Navy bases since Thanksgiving, including the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard fatal shootings on Dec. 4.
A surge in demand for attack submarines and the lengthening of Virginia-class subs to carry more missiles has the Navy examining building its first new dry dock at Pearl Harbor since World War II or creating a 650-foot floating dry dock to better maintain its Pacific-based undersea fleet.
Navy ships named USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma will return to active duty with the announcement by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly that two new Virginia-class attack submarines will be named after American heroes of the greatest generation who perished on the famed Pearl Harbor battleships.
The move brings back into service the hallowed ship names 78 years after both were badly damaged in the surprise Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Most of the Navy casualties that day came from losses on those two ships.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
Two Army divers gave a unique World War II sendoff to USS Arizona crew member Lauren Bruner when his ashes were interred on the sunken battleship Saturday, the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
The divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment donned vintage Mark 5 hardhats — the only two still certified for use — and lead boots that along with the drysuit weighed about 200 pounds, to walk across the deck of the sunken battleship and descend 22 feet into gun turret 4 to carefully place Bruner's ashes in one of the deepest spots in the wreck.
Dozens, if not hundreds of divers, wore very similar gear in the salvage of damaged ships in Pearl Harbor during the war.
An opening ceremony will be held Monday on Hawaii island for a military exercise with China that will involve about 100 People's Liberation Army soldiers training alongside U.S. Army counterparts.
This comes after Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, spoke on Veterans Day at Punchbowl cemetery about the "rules-based international order" that followed U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II, and China's attempts to usurp it.
Those American standards "are even more important today," Davidson said, "as malicious actors like the Communist Party of China seek to redefine the international order through corruption, malign cyber activities, intellectual property theft, restriction of individual liberties, military coercion and the direct attempts to override other nations' sovereignty."